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“Hey, remember appraisals are later this month.”

How do you react to this?

For most, they feel – all at once – apprehensive. Fear grips them. Anxiety. Pulpitations. Insomnia sets in as they visualise the stressful conversations that will take place soon.

Thoughts rush through your mind –

“These guys don’t know how hard I have been working.”

“They are so ungrateful. They don’t care and those targets were impossible to achieve, in the first place.”

You begin to buy the Friday paper, looking for vacancies in other organisations – companies you believe will value you more.  After all, you summarily conclude:

“Not all Kenyans are employed here!”

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But, really, WHAT is your gameplan?

Do you have one? What is your one desired outcome from the appraisal process?

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The battle is on …

Use these tips to chart your way forward, as you – the rolling stone – hurtles down towards your appraisal meeting. We wish you the best, as the appraisal season sets in.

1. Begin with the paperwork

Get out your contract, your job description and job objectives. What were you hired to do? What role were you to play within your organisation? What goals were set?

2. Be prepared

Gather information related to your performance. Be on top of your numbers. What challenges did you face when performing your role – did you have the required tools? Was the workload unequally spread amongst the team?

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3. Be honest

Where you have excelled, highlight and demonstrate. Where you need to improve, acknowledge. Where you made a mistake – own up & state what you learned from the experience.

4. Your list of accomplishments

Get your clients to submit written acknowledgement of your work. this can be by email, or by letter. And begin to collect these. Some ideas – Have you attended any training? How did you fare? Most importantly, how did it impact your work? What objectives did you meet? What did you excel in, that was outside of your job description? What extra work or project did you undertake? Did you solve any systemic problems or repetitive situations that delighted clients or staff?

5. Evaluate yourself

To do this effectively and honestly,

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Ask around and let others tell you how you’ve been doing.

Perhaps, you already have a clue given that our colleagues always leave clues for us to pick up. Have they been complaining about something consistently – your lateness, tardiness, unprofessional client handling, disorganised desk and files. Have they been complimenting you endlessly about – your rapport with clients and staff, your ability to work under pressure, your great attitude?

Look for the clues. And weave your story of truth.

This might also be a great time to understand the Johari window.

6. Identify areas for improvement

Did you know your manager hates speaking about your weaknesses especially where you have no clue that they are in an area in which you need development?

What a relief, when you are the one who points these areas out, as well as your gameplan for action! Is it more training that you need? on-the-job coaching?

7. The shocking truth! Is your manager ready to appraise you?

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On a scale of 1-10, where 10 is the best rating, how prepared do you think your immediate manager will be for your appraisal meeting?

Will they have done the research, collated the information, spoken with your colleagues and so on?

The rating is … wait for it … a measly “2”. This is the honest truth.

Can you blame them? They have so many direct reports to appraise and also prepare for their own appraisal with their boss! No wonder headaches abound at this time of the year, with Panadols flying off the shelf faster than you can sneeze.

So, be proactive, and have a 10-minute face-to-face meeting (not more emails, please) and brief your boss on what you’ve done so far. This will send a message to your boss to prepare adequately and it will give both of you an opportunity to have a productive conversation at your appraisal meeting.

With preparation & exercising of your influencing skills, your clueless manager may just become “clue-full”.

8. Sticks and stones … and words

Remain sane; head on the ground, and don’t say anything you will wish you hadn’t said.

Yes, emotions may run high, in fact, will definitely run high, but they don’t have to carry you over the edge and into the precipice! That deep valley filled with fire-spitting dragons 🙂

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Get this clearly. Words hurt. So expect to hear difficult things and be willing to listen. Your words will hurt, too, so endeavour to dress them in care before delivering the same to your boss.

Ultimately, when you begin to understand how blessed you are with skills, talents, competences, knowledge, experience & more, and that others in the world may value your skills more than your current employer, it becomes possible to gain perspective of your current situation.

It will then be possible to create a proactive strategy for maintaining your cool, while charting your next steps in your life’s work.

9. Is your rating already pre-determined?

So you and your boss are not agreeing on your appraisal rating.

What do you do?


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The agenda for your meeting is NOT to agree. It is for you to present your findings with evidence, to support your views.

Many believe that managers have already decided beforehand who gets the best ratings, who gets the worst, and who are in the middle. This is the bell curve of appraisals and inexperienced managers will see it as their job to force-fit everyone into their pre-determined slots.

If this is your scenario and you are beginning to feel helpless about the situation, this is probably the time to ask yourself how this job is serving you – for this is one career truth:

“We always stay, where our needs are being met.”

So put on your optimistic hat and bullet point all the needs that are being met, and PREP for your appraisal meeting as best as you can – after all, your only objective is to remain on payroll, isn’t it?

10. Taking the next step

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Back to the beginning question: “What is your one desired outcome of this appraisal process?”

Is simply being on the payroll, meeting your needs?

Or is your self-esteem, self-confidence and self-respect taking a beating?

You will find clues within you, beginning with your health and ending with your state of happiness or depression.

One outcome of this process should be, to begin believing again in the amazing YOU!

Our Executive Clients have found great value in the structured support we provide that helps them understand what their next steps could be.

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Register here to receive your preliminary CV Review Score for only Kshs.5,500/= (discounted from Kshs.10,000/=) and we shall give you detailed feedback of your CV effectiveness in moving you to your next level.

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Get more information here

We have already worked with so many to get more, with what they already have, why not you?

Upload your CV here

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Is the bell curve really dead?

If you happen to be part of the appraisal conversation in the next few months – as the appraiser or “appraisee” – we highly recommend you read the following 3 articles about why forced ranking is the most destructive HR practice that has ever taken root in the world of business.

PS – The bell curve is also known by the following names: rank and yank, forced ranking, up and out, and the 9 block.

Enjoy these good reads!

Why the bell curve is dead – according to Deloitte

Why Microsoft stopped force-rankings in 2013

Read what says about the Myth of the bell curve


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It may be time, to make the most of where you ARE. Even as you reach for where you want to be.

Ignite Your Dreams! Transform Lives!


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